This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar.
This comes from a fantastic poem called ‘Shapechangers In Winter’ by Margaret Atwood. A friend sent me this earlier today. Do read the whole version. Magic. Truly magic, conjuring up all the eternal power and pagan divinity of this special day.
(I use pagan in very broad terms. Let’s not forget Christmas is basically a pagan festival. And if you feel awkward about that idea, remember that at their hearts most religions celebrate the possibilities for renewal.)
In some ways I find the energies of the winter solstice even more compelling than those of the summer. We’re in a time of darkness, and now we’re returning to the light, minute by minute. The sun that’s disappeared behind the terrace over the back is gradually going to get higher and higher. But that presumes that light is better than dark, and in truth the dark is good in its own way. There are things in life we must gently accept. Tho too this is a time of rest and slumber and indoor pursuits, and long walks in fresh air with the dog.
In a couple of weeks, I’ll have exciting news to share. A Circle of Life moment that belongs to this auspicious day.
For this week’s writing experiment: write about a cusp where the past lets go of and becomes the future. You could include a solstice. If you write a poem, ground it in specific and concrete imagery. If you write fiction, include a specific and concrete gesture within. If you write nonfiction, be true.
Happy Solstice, Happy Christmas, enjoy the darkness, and may love and light be all around.